Sun-kissed: 10 ways to make it summer all year long
Got those end-of-summer blues? The best way to banish them is with the perfect autumn break. Here are 10 trips guaranteed to keep you in the holiday mood
Sunny autumn days in Kerala on the Malabar Coast. Photograph: Getty Images
Seasonal colour in Vermont. Photograph: Getty Images
The old quarter in Marseille. Photograph: Getty Images
Leaf peeping in New England
If there’s a bright side to autumn, it’s the flaming foliage. The sun may be sinking but the reds, golds and oranges are only just getting fired up in a part of the world where leaf gazing is a major tourist attraction. Hire a car and keep an eye on dedicated websites such as Yankee Foliage to find the most spectacular displays. Alternatively, sit back and enjoy the ride on one of New Hampshire’s Foliage Trains. Or make the most of the crisp, cool autumn air hiking and biking along traffic-free parts of the East Coast Greenway. Stick with a rural theme and stay in charming New England farms along the way, easily booked through Farm Stay US at an average of $125 (€93) a night for a double. At the time of writing Aer Lingus had return flights to Boston for under €700 in September.
yankeefoliage.com, foliagetrains.com, farmstayus.com, aerlingus.com
Rock on in Iceland
Think rock festivals are a summer phenomena? Think again. Iceland Airwaves, one of the world’s best known showcases for new music, takes place each October. Dubbed ‘the hippest long weekend in the annual music festival calendar’ by Rolling Stone, it takes over the centre of Reykjavik, with music fans flown in on special flights and ticket packages from around Europe. Artists who have previously played here include everyone from Florence to Fatboy Slim and the Flaming Lips, as well as local talent such as Of Monsters and Men, Sigur Ros and Bjork. And that’s just the music. An equally important part of the appeal is the chance to see geysers, waterfalls, lava fields and the world famous Blue Lagoon, where festival goers go to recover, en masse, in the milky blue waters of a thermal spring. Flights from the UK, and music venue passes will cost from £356 (€414) per person, excluding hotels, which will cost an around £800 (€930) for the four nights.
Forage for foliage in Italy
For spectacular autumnal scenes closer to home, make for Majella National Park in the Abruzzo region of Italy. This massive, mountainous nature reserve is one of the best preserved wildlife centres in Europe, with deer, wolves and bears a-roaming. In autumn, it’s the flora rather than the fauna that delights, as the mountains are swathed in a fiery blanket of oak, maple and beech trees all readying themselves for winter. By day, hike some of the park’s 500km trails, explore its Botanical Gardens and see the prehistoric cave art. By night take a guided wolf or bear tour. Wildlife & Wilderness has four-day breaks in the region, which is four hours by train from Rome, including half board accommodation, guided walks and rail tickets, from £495 (€574) per person.
Can’t lose cruise
For terrific all-in value, you just can’t beat a cruise. Not alone do you get all the regular hotel-like advantages of all-you-can-eat full board accommodation, but you get a different city in which to enjoy it every day. Right now, prices are great, too. E-travel.ie is currently offering a 10-night Mediterranean cruise on board Carnival’s Legend of the Seas from €879 for an inside cabin, rising to €959 for an outside one. For €250 more bag yourself a balcony and sit back and enjoy a ride that includes Venice, Kotor in Montenegro, Messina in Sicily, Naples, Rome, Florence, Marseille and Barcelona, departing 20th October. In between, enjoy on-board fun ranging from an 18-hole mini golf course to a giant rock climbing wall, plus all that food.